Dedication of New Headquarters Church in the Philippines
A new headquarters church for the Apostolic Faith work in the Philippines was dedicated in Bagong Sikat on Sunday, January 22. The original headquarters church remains on the same site as the new building; it has been renamed “The Chapel” and will now be used for small gatherings. As the location for bi-annual camp meetings, that structure had been enlarged several times over the years to accommodate the growing work in the Philippines. In recent years, however, the overflow crowds have made it necessary for some camp meeting attendees to sit outside under awnings and view the services by video. In light of this, it was decided that a larger facility was needed, and work began on the new building in January of 2016.
The new sanctuary is well-equipped to meet the needs of the annual camp meetings. It seats five hundred and is encircled by classrooms with accordion walls designed to fold open to allow for additional seating. The platform is also large with plenty of room for the expanding choir and orchestra.
Reverend Darrel Lee, Superintendent General of the Apostolic Faith organization, and his wife, Debbie, came from the headquarters church in Portland, Oregon, to attend the dedicatory event. They arrived on Tuesday, January 17, and were warmly welcomed by Reverend Zenaida Ruiz, leader of the work in the Philippines, and others of the Bagong Sikat congregation. The following day, they were joined by Reverend Bill McKibben, Director of Asia Work, and his wife, Lori, as well as several others from U.S. churches on the West Coast. By Thursday evening, out-of-town pastors and ministers from other Apostolic Faith churches in the Philippines began arriving for the dedication. The Filipino saints also welcomed three pastors from South Korea: Jeong Min Kim of Seoul, Young Doo Ra of Daejeon, and Ik Jin Choi of Daegu.
The young people concluded with a beautiful a cappella rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, presented by candlelight. Their voices filled the church, and it was inspiring to see their desire to give their talents back to the Lord.
The official activities of the weekend began Friday evening with a musical presented by thirty young people, ages seventeen to twenty-three. It was titled, “A Deeper Relationship with God through Prayer," and included choir, instrumental, and solo numbers. The young people concluded with a beautiful a cappella rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, presented by candlelight. Their voices filled the church, and it was inspiring to see their desire to give their talents back to the Lord.
Saturday morning began with a breakfast for ministers and their spouses, where a number of traditional Filipino dishes were served. After breakfast, the group assembled in the original church for a PowerPoint presentation on the church name, the Apostolic Faith, and the organization’s flagship publication which carries the same name on its masthead.
The Sunday dedication day events began with Sunday school at 9:00 a.m. in the original church. The adult classes were held outside as it was a beautiful, sunny day with ninety-degree weather. The young people met inside and were taught by a relatively young staff who have evidenced a determination to carry the Apostolic Faith work forward for as long as Jesus tarries.
Following Sunday school, attendees spent some time worshiping in the new prayer room before gathering outside the main entrance of the new building for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Reverend Lee and his wife were given the honor of cutting the ribbon, after which Reverend Bill McKibben and his wife carried a large Bible into the church and placed it on a stand located in the narthex.
The ministers then proceeded into the church and took their places on the platform, followed by the choir and orchestra. As the congregation filed in, it became apparent that the sanctuary, designed to seat five hundred, and the overflow area which accommodates another three hundred, would not be sufficient. Approximately two hundred guests remained outside.
There were several music specials during the service, including “People Need the Lord” performed by the orchestra, and “Lord God Almighty” sung by the choir. The congregation also had an opportunity to lift their voices in worship, and a sweet spirit settled on the sanctuary. After an opening prayer, the dedication message, and a Scripture reading, Reverend Ruiz gave the dedication prayer. Then the service closed with a time of prayer at the altar.
Following the dedication service, the choir and orchestra members served lunch to the entire congregation. The kitchen staff had worked for days to prepare the meal, and it was greatly appreciated by all. In the evening, an evangelistic service was held. The music, provided by the Bagong Sikat choir and orchestra, was wonderful, and the testimonies were inspiring. Afterward another meal was served for the congregation.
On Monday morning, a ministers’ meeting was held with about thirty in attendance. The concluding event of the dedication weekend took place in the evening, when everyone gathered outside the newly dedicated headquarters church for a sing-along. Paper bags filled with candles had been placed around the lawn, and the lights on the front of the church were on, creating an inviting atmosphere. Choruses were sung in both English and Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines, and musical numbers were presented by several branch churches as snacks were served to the listeners. It was a heart-warming and enjoyable conclusion to a memorable weekend of fellowship and rejoicing.